Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Started with Social Networking

A new year is approaching and I wanted to recall some helpful hints and tips to help you enjoy social networking and be safe.
Because I blog about all different types and venues of social networking I wanted to draw attention to a tip someone gave me. An anonymous person commented on a previous post: So What's the Big Deal with Social Networking?
And shared this link with me Findasocialnetwork.com

If you are looking for a certain type of group to socialize with, this website can help you to narrow down your search.

I also want to list a few links to previous blogs I’ve written which will help you to get started in your social networking arena in a fun and positive way.
Hope these help and I will continue to share more tips and various sites and types of social networking throughout the new year! I'd love to hear anything you're interested in learning about when it comes to social networking--leave me a comment!

Choosing your profile picture

Safe Social Networking with Facebook

What's MySpace

MySpace part 2

Choosing Your Profile Picture

With the click of the mouse, curiosity killed the cat

Social Networking hits new level at www.yourLDSneighborhood.com

Blogging etiquette

Goodreads and Rachelle’s Book Club


Return to the Neighborhood And while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Books Rachelle Read during 2008 (so far)

As promised, here is the list of books I read this year. It has been a wonderful year of reading and I’m looking forward to finding more great books! I’d love to invite you to a book social right here! Tell me what you think about any of these books or pick one to read perhaps you may find a favorite among my list.

1. The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Hearts and Homesby James L. Ferrell


2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
by JK Rowling

3. Scholastic Bookfiles: Ella Enchanted By Gail Carson Levine
by Gail Carson Levine

4.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

5. Spider’s Web by Agatha Christie

6. Tangled Roots by G. G. Vandegriff

7. CARDS ON THE TABLE (Forward by author)
by Agatha Christie

8. The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy


9. 5 Titles By Agatha Christie: "The Mirror Crack'd," "Postern of Fate," "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," "What Mrs. Mcgillicuddy Saw!," "The Listerdale Mystery."
Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie

10. Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon



11. Counting Stars by Michelle Paige Holmes



12. Fame, Glory, and other things on my to do list by Janette Rallison

13. The Sharp Edge of the Knife by Nichole Giles

14. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

15. Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston

16. Heaven Scent by Rebecca Talley

17. Fablehaven- Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

18. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

19. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

20. Spare Change by Aubrey Mace

21. Far World by J. Scott Savage

22. Room For Two by Abel Keogh

23. The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

24. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

25. A Greater Love by Rachel Ann Nunes

26. Believe in What You’re Doing, Believe in Who You Are by Hilary Weeks

27. Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

28. The Holy Secret by James L. Ferrell

29. Nothing to Regret by Tristi Pinkston

30. The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

31. In Search of Heaven by Anita Stansfield

32. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

33. Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

34. A Quiet Promise by Anita Stansfield

35. The Operative by Willard Boyd Gardner

36. It’s Okay to Take a Nap by Debra Sansing Woods

37. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

38. Grin and Share It by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

39. Master by Toni Sorenson

40. The Wings of Words by Brenton Yorgason

41. Run Away Home by Patricia McKissack

42. Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

43. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

44. Who Killed the Queen of Clubs? by Patricia Sprinkle

45. Auntie Mayhem by Mary Daheim

46. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

47. 1, 2, 3, Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan

48. The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

49. Helping the Thumb-sucking Child by Rosemarie A. Van Norman

50. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

51. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

52. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum

53. The Book of Mormon

54. Austenland by Shannon Hale

55. A Stranger for Christmas by Carol Lynn Pearson

56. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult

57. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

58. The Ensign Magazine- 12 issues/per year

59. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

60. How to Promote Your Home Business by John McLain

61. Currently reading: On Writing by Eudora Welty

There are many books on the list above which I absolutely loved, some I didn’t enjoy at all, and also hundreds and hundreds of children's books I read to my little girls throughout the year which definitely merit mentioning, but this list would get a bit too long if I did. Look forward to another post on my favorite young children’s books of the year.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: The Best Book I read in 2008

One of the goals I made for 2008 was to read 50 books. I had never kept track of every single book I read during the year and figured that was a number I could probably reach. To date I have read 57 books this year.

I have read some pretty amazing books, some which gave me cause to consider and think about things I hadn’t before. I was disappointed by some and happily surprised by others. In my next post I will list all of the books I’ve read, but first I wanted to tell you about the best book I’ve read this year:


The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ is #53 on my list. I started reading this book in January and finished reading it earlier this month. Most days I began my day by reading a chapter out of the Book of Mormon. I read The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, which is the same scripture with some illustrations, extra footnotes, definitions and explanations. I have read the Book of Mormon several times already in my life but I learned so many new things in this reading and understood some things I hadn’t grasped before. Of course, I think I will probably be able to say the same thing with every reading of this inspired book of scripture. I look forward to reading it again because every time I read from The Book of Mormon, I feel closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him and I want to be like Him!

Life seems so difficult at times, but The Book of Mormon has served as my own ensign on the hill, guiding me through each day. I could tell a difference in the days when I didn’t get to read from the scriptures. Some days would seem so crazy and out of control and I would lose my patience with my children and husband and just feel downright cruddy and then I would realize that my Book of Mormon was still sitting on the shelf and I hadn’t made time to read that day.

During the year 2008, I was pregnant and then gave birth to my third baby. There were many days when I felt sick and exhausted and sometimes I would even start to fall asleep while attempting to read my scriptures. But I had made a goal to myself that this book, the most important book in my life, would be on my list of books read this year and so I prayed for help and inspiration to understand the scriptures. So many stories came to life for me. As I read about Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, Alma, Ammon, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Jesus Christ, and so many others, it was like clearing the fog from a window and I was able to see their lives and missions more clearly.

I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to have my own copy of The Book of Mormon which helps me come to know Christ and His attributes so that I may try to emulate Him.

I am reading from the Bible now about our Savior’s birth and I know that Jesus Christ was sent to this earth to redeem all of mankind and teach us how to love one another. I am so grateful for the good books available to us and I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Acknowledge and Appreciate Yourself by Jack Canfield

I am a big fan of Jack Canfield, a motivational speaker and famous for his Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I wanted to share an article from his Success Strategies newsletter today. I hope you enjoy his refreshing positive point of view.

"With the year coming to a close, it's time to acknowledge and appreciate yourself for everything you've accomplished today, throughout the year, and in life.
How many times have you succeeded in the past month? Are you able to recall your successes as well as your failures and missteps?
Many people under-appreciate the little things they accomplish every day. And yet they can recall in detail all the times they have failed or made mistakes. That's because the brain remembers events more easily when they are accompanied by strong emotions.
You might recall graduation, losing 10 pounds, winning an award, or landing a highly sought after position. But do you include in your successes how you had a really great talk with your spouse, how you spent quality time with your teen, how you got all your list of things done for the day, how you learned to change your own oil, or got your fussy child to take a nap?

If you don't acknowledge your successes the same way you acknowledge your mistakes, you're sure to have a memory full of blunders.

Acknowledge your own success. Toot your own horn and don't wait for anyone else to praise you!
If you only remember the mistakes and failures, you won't be as ready to take risks that will lead to your successes. Build your self-esteem by recalling ALL the ways you have succeeded and your brain will be filled with images of you making your achievements happen again and again.

Take time to write your achievements down. Start when you were very young and think of all your achievements since then. Don't just pick the big things, write down all the things you take for granted. You can also create a log of success everyday and review it when you are faced with a new challenge. By writing it all down everyday, you're securing it in your long-term memory and it will become a part of what makes you tick.

Surround yourself with reminders of your success.
Put up pictures, articles, trophies, awards and other pieces that bring your attention to your success. Make your environment speak to you about your achievements. Be proud of them!
People like to be around those who have a healthy self-esteem and who are achieving their Goals. Commit to acknowledging your achievements and your brain will begin to tell you the truth... that you can do ANYTHING!
Taking just 30 minutes to complete this activity will become your positive springboard into 2009 for even more successes."
© 2008 Jack Canfield
* * *
If you missed previous issues of Success Strategies,
I keep an archive of past issues you can always refer to.
________________________________________
Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Count Down The 12 Days of Christmas with Story Time Felts

I'm thrilled to introduce the final story in my Bug Meadow stories created by Story Time Felts!

December Hostess Exclusive

The last of our 2008 exclusives is available and this one features a story on how The Bugs Count the 12 Days of Christmas at Bug Meadow. This one is a must have and you can get it for FREE with a qualifying party. If you are a past 2008 hostess contact me and order your set today, if you are not contact me and we can book a December party for you. Superfelt@gmail.com

Get your set for FREE when your December party reaches $300 and have 3 bookings
OR
Purchase your set for $5.50 when your December party reaches $200 and 2 bookings.

Please enjoy this excerpt from the story:

The Bugs Count the 12 Days of Christmas at Bug Meadow

Written by Rachelle J. Christensen


December had come to Bug Meadow and the bugs scurried inside the warm greenhouse to keep out of the snow.

All of them had gathered to prepare for Christmas. Many of the bugs didn’t know what they could give as a gift. Others were more worried about what they would get.

Dragonfly especially wanted this to be a great Christmas for his mom and dad. “I want to give them a special gift, but I can’t think of anything,” he told his friend, Katydid.
To get the rest of this story and others in the Bug Meadow set, contact Rachelle (that's me!) at superfelt@gmail.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is Heavenly Father Part of Your Social Network?

Glance through the contacts in your email account and you’ll probably find some friends who you don’t contact as much as you’d like. Maybe you just forward them a funny joke or touching story once in a while, but you don’t really let them know what’s going on in your life and perhaps you don’t know what’s happening in their life either. It happens. We’re all busy and it’s hard to keep up with everything. I definitely understand this concept—I don’t even send Christmas cards in the mail—I send an email Christmas card!

It always brings a smile to my face when I get a “real” message from one of my contacts instead of a forward and I’m betting they feel the same way when I have an extra second to send a personal note.

I’ve been thinking about all the different ways we rush around on the internet and in life. There always seems to be some new social networking site popping up for us to join with new friends to meet and new things to learn about. Each of these sites usually has a feature where we can invite all of the contacts in our address book to join the site with us and embark on a new social networking journey. Often you’ll find that many of your friends already belong to the same network. When you invite those who don’t already belong, some will join you and others will pass. It’s never a big deal to me whether someone accepts my invitation or not because this is a form of recreation. But if I do find something important to me I often want to share it with everyone and at times I am disappointed when everyone doesn’t accept the information I have to share. This made me think about another important aspect of my life.

Am I accepting the ultimate invitation, given on a daily basis, the one that goes something like this… “Come unto me.”

We’re all invited to come unto Christ, but do we accept this invite or ignore it? Better yet have we “invited” Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, into our lives?

Do we only send forwards to our Heavenly Father? Is He part of our myriad social networking hot spots? If there were such a thing, would He be first on our list of most contacted people?

We can send an instant message anytime without any electronic equipment through a simple method called prayer. Instead of “forwarding” a daily rote prayer with no meaning, perhaps we can have a conversation with our Father in Heaven—a real conversation where we share with Him our innermost feelings and desires and thank Him, showing our gratitude for the immense blessings we enjoy each day.

My prayers give me much more benefit when I take the time to “send” a personal message and open my heart to my Heavenly Father. When I tell Him how hard I am trying to improve myself and ask for His help with a specific weakness or when I thank Him specifically for my blessings, I feel so much closer to Him.

I hope that especially during this beautiful season we can all take the time to send a personal note to our Heavenly Father and invite Him to be a part of our lives. He has already sent His son to knock at the door, all we have to do is open it and invite Him in.

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.



Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Choosing Your Profile Pictures

Today I wanted to share something that I’ve learned over the past year on my blog. If you’re going to be a part of any form of social networking on the internet, you need to know a little bit about safety.

WAIT! Don’t stop reading. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have to worry about internet stalking etc. because that stuff happens to the other guy. If that thinking is correct, then you are the other guy.

I’ve already posted about blogging safely, you can click here to read that post. Today I wanted to mention another item of social networking I had an epiphany about.

In almost every form of social networking I can find, it asks for some kind of profile picture. All you have to do is browse your files and upload a picture. Pretty easy, huh? But something I hadn’t thought about before was what kind of picture you should be using for your profile.

First you need to ask yourself what the purpose of the webpage is that you are about to post your picture on. Are you trying to promote a business or a book? Are you looking to meet someone or do internet dating? Are you trying to raise money for a charity?
For each of those questions, there is a different photo which could be used in your profile.
My profile on this blog right now is a close-up of me which will be used in my upcoming book. My blog is set up so that *hopefully* those who are visiting will notice I am an author and this is a writing blog. Now here’s the epiphany part—I don’t need to use this same photo for all of my social networking!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Just because it asks for a profile picture, doesn’t mean you have to put one of yourself up there. I have noticed many authors who actually put a picture of their book as the profile pic and I think that’s pretty smart.

You may also be wondering what got me thinking about this. Well, I’m a member of several different social networks—some of which have a public profile—meaning anyone can see the picture. Most social networks have circles within where you can find friends who share your same interests. But there are many people in these social networks who are just grazing, they’re not really into books or art or music, they’re into people.

This is what I learned the hard way. I don’t know if this will apply to men as much, but for a female, no matter what your age or marital status this is important. On those social networking sites which allow your profile to be viewed by anyone it is prudent and wise to post a picture of yourself that is not a close-up. Why? Because I have received several messages from people I don’t know saying my picture is gorgeous blah blah blah, can we be friends?

First of all, I ask myself why this person didn’t notice I was married in my profile and then I answer the question myself and get to the point I mentioned above. If you have a pretty picture of yourself and you are not internet dating, don’t post it as your profile picture. Instead, post a zany picture of you which would make it hard for someone to pick you out in public. You could wear a hat or sunglasses. You can also use special effects on your photos to make them look like cartoons or pencil drawings. You could also put pictures of your pet goldfish, your favorite book, a quilt etc. These are all things which will deter someone who is just browsing the net trying to find photos of someone to be “friends” with. Okay, my husband is still laughing about the suggestion to use a quilt as a profile picture, but nobody’s going to hit on a quilt, right?

Some of you will undoubtedly think I’m a little paranoid—that there’s no need for that level of safety for your own social networking. Have you heard the saying “better safe than sorry” ? I have and I’m trying my best to learn how to navigate our internet world and keep on the safe side.

This is just a small deterrent to the unpleasant messages you might come across while you’re surfing the web. But each small step leads to happier, safer social networking.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

JP Creative Design Photo Cards for a Happy Holiday

Do you need a little help designing your special Christmas card this year?
Jessica Peterson of JP Creative design can create personalized photocards and more. She's my neighbor and she designed our sweet baby Dawson's birth announcements. They turned out so darling--we loved them! I just wanted to share with you how impressed I am by her creative skills.

Here's a sample photocard:


Please contact Jessica and let her help you make your holidays fantastic. Stop by her blog and see the darling Christmas party invite she just made!!
jpcreativedesign.blogspot.com
email: jessica.e.peterson@gmail.com

How to Promote Your Home Business by John McLain


I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for a new book called How to Promote Your Home Business: Free Easy and Low-Cost Ways to Market Any Enterprise by John McLain
This book comes at a perfect time when home-based businesses are on the rise due to problems in our economy. This book is a goldmine of facts to support any home-based business owner, including writers.

I have been a home-based business owner involved in direct sales for the past ten years, so I was interested to see how John McLain’s book might help me. Would it have anything I hadn’t already learned in the past ten years? I must report that YES it does! McLain covers everything from press releases to trade fairs to websites in his book. He writes in a succinct and interesting way to excite and motivate his reader to have a successful business.

At just over one-hundred pages, this book is a quick read to get you started and moving towards success in your home business, no matter what kind of business you are running I’m confident you will find helpful information just for you.

One part of this book I was particularly interested in was all about press releases. I had learned the basics of writing a press release from writer’s conferences I had attended but have not yet tried my hand at it. After reading McLain’s tips, I feel more up to the task and believe I will be able to write a more effective release and direct it to the right people. I’m looking forward to trying more of McLain’s useful tips for my Story Time Felts business and for my book which will be published in June 2009 on coping with miscarriage.

How to Promote Your Home Business is a great tool for any business owner, so go ahead and jump in and use his tips and techniques to take the steps to success.


You may visit John McLain’s blog www.promotehomebiz.blogspot.com for more great info on this subject.
John has been in the promotion business for the past 12 years. He's run two successful businesses from home: one a national media consulting firm, the other a web-writing and design business. He's published books, including How to Promote Your Home Business, a novel and completed a screenplay. The first 10 years of his career he was a newspaper reporter and editor, then a magazine editor in San Francisco, an ad copywriter, a news director for two universities, and a specialist in national media placements for colleges and universities. Today he continues to write books and do some publicity consulting for companies.

You can purchase this book at Amazon, just click here Or at Strategic Book Publishing, click here

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: A Stranger For Christmas


I just finished reading a short story by Carol Lynn Pearson, A Stranger For Christmas.It was excellent and a wonderful way to invite the holiday spirit into your life.
Here’s a quick blurb about the book.

"What if a family, a real one with children and everything, walked right in the front door here and said, 'We'd like to borrow a Grandma for Christmas. Let 's see. That one over there, the one with the red hair. We'll take her . . . ' "
Two old ladies face a lonely Christmas in a California nursing home. One of them still believes in the goodness of people. Now she intends to prove it with a phone call to her children.
And so begins this very special story about love, family, and miracles. As these two women put the true meaning of Christmas to the test, something completely unexpected happens. It may change their lives forever . . . just as it may change yours. A Stranger for Christmas will touch the hearts and lift the spirits of readers everywhere. It is a story to remind us of the values we cherish, the people we love, and the lessons of the holiday season. Make it part of your family's Christmas tradition this year . . . next year . . . and every year. This holiday season, open your heart to . . . A Stranger for Christmas.

*This story is thought-provoking and a genuine joy to read! Pearson’s descriptive writing ability pulls you into the story and allows you to experience the events right along with the two old ladies. I always love a book that can make me laugh and make me cry. This book has a great mix of both and a sprinkling of Christmas nostalgia we all need.

This book is available for an incredible price at Cedar Fort Inc. click here —we’re talking $3.99 incredible!!! Or on Amazon.com, click here
I hope many of you might have a chance to read A Stranger for Christmas by Carol Lynn Pearson this month. Read it as a family, by yourself, or give it to someone to brighten up their holiday.
Happy Holidays!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Teaching Children How to Give

The Case of the Christmas Advertisement
An unsuspecting parent brings the mail inside the house and tosses it on the table. An advertisement opens slowly to reveal the Christmas toys on sale in various bright and screaming colors.
“Mom, I want this! Can I have this? Oh look at this, can I ask Santa to bring me this?”
Sound familiar? How about this part—previously mentioned ad is sent on a top secret mission to the garbage can. If you wish to succeed this holiday, all advertisements must be re-routed, if you should fail you will suffer the holiday mantra “I need it! I want it!” for the remainder of the year.

In a world full of “I wants” and immediate gratification, how can we teach our children how to give?
This is the question my husband and I asked when our first child reached the toddler stage where everything new had to be had, looked at for a minute, and then tossed aside for the next novel item. We decided it was up to us to begin early teaching the art of giving.
Every year my husband’s place of employment has offered a giving tree. The tree is decorated with small ornaments and each one has a tag attached with the age of a child and what they need for Christmas. We have begun a family tradition to choose tags off the tree matching the age and gender of our children. Then we involve our children in the process of selecting a gift, wrapping it, and sending it on its way to another child.
I have to admit although I love doing this, the process is a bit painful for a three year old or a four year old—but that’s the point. We want to teach our children that they do not NEED every toy they see and to help them become aware of other’s needs. I love my children and I think they are wonderful, kind little creatures—but they’re still kids and kids are naturally a little bit selfish. If you give them a chance though they will surprise you with how unselfish they can “learn” to be.
To help our children understand I start with the basic things we should be grateful for. Asking simple questions in regular conversation (no harping allowed) will help open their eyes to different circumstances. Here are some of the questions I have asked my three and five year old recently and a few of their responses:

Me: “Isn’t it fun that you have so many different shirts/pants to wear to school? What if you only had one shirt and one pair of pants to wear to school and then the pants got a hole in them?”
Gracie Age 5: “That would be sad.”
Maggie Age 3: “Yeah, it would be saaaa-dd.”

Me: “What do you think would happen if you had to go to school with no coat? What would you do at recess?”
Gracie: “I would get cold and I would have to stay inside.”
Maggie: “It would be freezin’ and freezin’ and cold!”

Me: “What if our baby Dawson didn’t have a warm sleeper to wear?”
Gracie: “We could pray for him.”
Maggie: “If he gets cold, he would need a jacket on to warm him up.”

Me: Did you know that there are lots of kids who don’t get to eat breakfast in the morning? Who only have an old coat that doesn’t fit good or maybe their pants have a hole in them, but they can’t get new ones. Did you know there are little babies whose feet get cold because they don’t have any booties to wear?
“Do you think there is something we could do to help some kids this Christmas?
Gracie: “I would take some toys and give to them, cuz I have a lot of toys.”
Maggie: “I could give her one tea set.”

These conversations are heartfelt and are great window to see inside your children’s minds. It’s fun to hear their responses, but even better to help them start thinking about someone besides themselves. After several conversations like this, we will go shopping for the kids on our ornaments.

Last year was priceless. Imagine my surprise to witness my 2 year old and 4 year old in the toy department of Wal-Mart picking out presents for someone else. They were not throwing a fit about the toy they wanted, instead they were thinking about someone who might not have any toys this Christmas if they didn’t pick one out for them.

I hope this year’s shopping trip goes as well as last year’s, but even if it doesn’t I still know it’s important for my children to learn how to give.
I hope you can help share the spirit of Christmas with your children. There are many different ways you can involve your kids in learning how to give. Here are a few more ideas:

After having a conversation about those less fortunate than us, you could help your child clean their room. Ask them to select at least 10 items—must be good, fun items (nothing broken, etc.) to donate to charity. These could include clothing, toys, books, etc. Help them to really think about not just getting rid of extra stuff, but GIVING some of their things to another.

Invite your child to go shopping with you. Select a bag full of groceries and drop it off at your local food bank. *Did you know you can do this at any time of year? I know many people who take advantage of the buy one get one free offers and then donate the free food to the food bank!

Make a baby blanket or quilt with your child and donate it. You can make a nice baby blanket and burp cloths with only 2 yards of fabric in less than an hour. The LDS church at LDS.org has great information on all kinds of humanitarian projects you can be a part of to help the world we live in.

Read the story of our Savior’s birth in Matthew chapter one and two and talk about the wise men who gave gifts to the baby Jesus. This is the real reason we give, because we love our Savior and we want to be like him. Ask them how they can give gifts to Jesus this Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Day Started Out with a Compliment


Today as I was dashing around the kitchen trying to get breakfast ready for my 2 girls before baby Dawson woke up, I got a compliment.
My five year old looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re not so fat anymore!”
I paused for a second before saying, “Thank you. It's nice that baby Dawson isn’t in my belly anymore huh?”
Gracie smiled and said, “Yes, you look almost skinny like you did before you had Dawson in your belly.”
And so, even if it isn’t the most perfect compliment, I’ll take it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It’s Christmas Time! Social Networking in your own Neighborhood

Most people love Christmas, but let’s face it—there are plenty of Scrooges around when it comes to neighbor gifts and getting them ready. I think the solution to this is to eliminate the stress of the neighbor gift (not the gift, just the stress) and re-discover the joy of the holiday season.

So maybe this year, we can find a way to keep it simple. There are tons of easy holiday neighbor gift ideas to be found, but maybe you’re tired of the same ol’ same old. I want to give a few suggestions of unique, inexpensive and fun things you can do for your neighbors this year instead of the King-size candy bar with the poem about “Here’s my version of Christmas fudge!” Okay and if you haven’t heard that one, then I guess you can use that this year. Hee hee!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do the same gift for every neighbor. Why not mix it up and give each person a little something different? A thoughtful gift just for them. This idea is coming from the person who will be giving all her neighbors a treat of homemade candies, but hey—if you don’t like hand-dipped chocolates and homemade caramels that’s not my problem. I’m just trying to give you a few more ideas to share the love this Christmas.

An act of service—I’m not sure what the weather is like where you live, but here in Utah we still have leaves on the ground that need to be raked. There’s also bits of trash that get blown around our yard and a few dying weeds that need to be pulled. It would only take about ten minutes to rake and bag a pile of leaves. If you want you could make a little card to leave with your neighbor with a cute (or corny) Christmas jingle like, “We wanted to “leaf” a little love this year. Merry Christmas!”
If you’re already into the snow season, then by all means break out the snow shovel and ice melt and leave a note, “We’re clearing the way for Santa’s sleigh. Merry Christmas!”

Homemade Christmas cards made by you—I love to make cards and I know there are many out there who enjoy doing the same thing. You might enjoy creating cards on your computer, with scrapbook supplies, or stamps. Have you ever thought about making a little bundle of cute cards to give as a neighbor gift? Who can’t use a card sometime during the holidays?
How about homemade gift tags? If given early in the season, they’ll be handy for wrapping up presents.

Homemade Christmas cards made by your children—Do you have some elderly neighbors who might enjoy a little piece of Christmas magic created by your young children? Have them draw a magical Christmas scene or make a card and then sign it “With love from our family” The picture/card will still be there long after the treats are gone.

Throw a neighborhood Christmas party complete with white elephant gifts. Depending on what kind of area you live in, this could be a real hit.

Plan a Musical night of Christmas—I have great memories of the times when we got together with our neighbors, the Bodily’s and a few elderly folk in our area. We created our own mini-Christmas program. We sang songs, played instruments, had Santa Claus come for a visit, and just enjoyed talking and laughing together.

Forgo the neighbor gifts and sponsor a family in the Sub for Santa program. You could do this as a neighborhood or just your own family.

I might have to continue on with some more ideas in another blog post. I’m especially having lots of fun with the corny Christmas lines! Even if you don’t use any of these ideas, hopefully it’ll get your mind spinning with a few simple and new things you can do for your neighbors this Christmas to spread the holiday cheer.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Safe Social Networking with Facebook

Facebook has been recommended to me by many people as a social networking tool. Most people said they really liked it because it was a safer way to network on the internet. I decided I would go ahead and test this out and let you know the results.

So today I signed up on Facebook.com. It only took me about five minutes to sign up. Then you can spend another half-hour inviting all the friends you have on your email list to join if you’d like. Facebook.com has an initial setup which is very similar to MySpace. It is expert enough to look at your address book in your email account and tell you who is already a member of Facebook. You can select who you’d like to invite to view your Facebook account from this list and then add more.

First things first. After you set up your account, go in and upload a picture for your profile and then update your profile. You can put all kinds of info here—your hometown, high school, University, etc. Then MySpace will actually pull up a network from the info you entered and you can choose more friends from there. For example, when I entered my high school, Facebook brought up several of my classmates’ accounts.

For the safest way to network through Facebook, choose “Only my Friends” when you start to upload photos. * This is important! If you have teens using Facebook, be sure that they have this option selected “Only Friends.” The other two options are “Everyone” and “Only Friends of Friends” but they are essentially the same thing because a friend of a friend could be just about anyone. Check up on the profile settings and make sure you choose the safest route.

I’m thinking this is going to be very cool because you can upload entire albums of pictures for your family to see. This is very handy if you use the Facebook photo uploader. Set up an album, then go to add more pictures and it should prompt you to use Facebook photo uploader. Then this feature will bring up a smaller window with all your documents and you can select pictures and different albums and then click on Select All or just check each picture from an album that you’d like to upload and it does it very quickly. Then you can add information to go with the pictures. In essence, an online scrapbook you can share with your family and friends.

I will update you soon with more information about Facebook and tell you how I’m liking it. Hopefully this will give you a start on this popular form of social networking.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: Review on Elantris by Brandon Sanderson


Elantris is a 5-star book and was the debut book by now famous author, Brandon Sanderson. I was privileged enough to purchase this book at the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s BYU Writer’s Conference and to have it signed by Brandon.

The story of Elantris is incredible with layer upon layer of the most delicious detailed plot I’ve seen for a while. I think I could easily compare it to the delectable layers of a rich German chocolate cake, (at least the way I’ve learned to make it from my mother-in-law) that my husband devours because that’s what I did from the first few pages of this book. I devoured it and enjoyed every bite!
I tried to think of a way to share what this book was about without giving away any details, but this is all I could come up with because the mystery of Elantris is so finely woven into all the details of this book.

Elantris is a fantasy novel about Prince Raoden and the mysterious “fallen” Elantrians. Elantris used to be the city of the Gods filled with all kinds of magical power, but ten years ago the city fell. Lady Sarene is engaged to marry Prince Raoden and arrives in Arelon to disappointing and confusing news. Is her Prince really dead? And is the zealot missionary really out to cause problems?

Brandon Sanderson is a genius and I hope that many of you will have the opportunity to read this book. In the epic fantasy novel Elantris, Sanderson creates a world so real that you will feel you have actually visited it. He even has different religions and languages so masterfully woven into the story that after reading the book, I kept wanting to say “Kolo?” when I was talking to my husband. The best way to describe “Kolo” is to compare it to how the Canadians say, “Eh or Hey,” to end many of their sentences or how American’s say, “ya know.” It’s funny, ya know, but I loved the character, Galladon, who always said “Kolo?”

Which brings me to another point about the quality of Elantris—Sanderson created several characters whom readers are able to know intimately. They aren’t just the stand-up cardboard, fill-in the blank kinds you’ll find in many novels or the lame sidekick. They were real, living breathing people—at least they seemed to call to me from the pages when I should’ve been sleeping. But since I was up taking care of my newborn and couldn’t be sleeping, why not read, right?
Here’s the first line from the book, just try to tell me you wouldn’t keep reading!

“PRINCE Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.”

Click here to see reviews on Elantris

My only complaint and this would be for pretty much any fantasy writer is that I wish they would include a pronunciation guide for all of the names and words they choose to invent for their books. I know I’m weird but I like to know that I’m “saying” the name right when I’m reading the book.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and check out Sanderson’s new series for children too! Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians was a great read with some great humor too!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkey Day!

I love Turkey Day! Thanksgiving has always been one of those peaceful kinds of holidays for me. That peaceful feeling is most likely due to the fact that I have never had to host a Turkey Day dinner at my own home.  We get together at our parents homes, alternating every other year.

I wanted to share a few memories of why I enjoy Thanksgiving in hopes that it will remind you that despite the turbulent times which surround us, Thanksgiving is a holiday full of comfort. Comfort food, a comfortable home filled with family togetherness and thankful hearts.

I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving. It seems like it’s always been an easy holiday for people to sit around and talk and just enjoy one another’s company. The Christmas rush hasn’t started yet--but it’s only hours away! My extended family loves to play board games, make cards and scrapbook, do some target shooting, play a little football, and lengthen each hour with relaxing conversation.

I have many fond memories of the Thanksgivings I spent in Idaho. The weather was usually mild and even if there was a little snow, it was usually nice enough to go out and play in just your jacket. Mounds and mounds of mashed Idaho potatoes adorned each plate—I always remember one of my cousins was anti-gravy. He just loved to pile up the heap of white goodness with melted butter dribbling down the sides and then start shoveling. I remember one of my uncles loved the dark meat of the turkey, another uncle would never smile for a picture, and yet another who liked to play his guitar after dinner.
In my teenage years, I was kind of in limbo because I was a girl amidst a bunch of boy cousins. I didn’t like to watch football and I didn’t want to play dolls with my younger cousins, so for a few years I remember settling into my grandma’s sitting room with my journal or a good book.

Over the past ten years or so, the ladies in my family have become experts at making cards and scrapbooking. This has been very enjoyable for me. After the big dinner, we clear off the table and cover it with myriad colors of cardstock, stickers, and all kinds of stamps and inkpads. We make Christmas cards and laugh together and work until it’s time to eat some more pie.

That’s one special thing about Thanksgiving—it doesn’t matter what the economy is doing right now. It’s not going to affect our Thanksgiving celebrations, because unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is a simple holiday with time-honored traditions which do not bow to fashion whims or economic trends.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember what we’re thankful for. We’re not worried about whether we can afford the latest new electronic gadget. Instead we’re thinking about frosty football games and pumpkin pie, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Hugs from Grandmas and Grandpas and a treasured conversation about the good ol’ days shared with Great Grandpa. And although it’s nearly time to prepare for the season of celebration for the birth of our Savior, don’t forget to invite Him to your Thanksgiving table and thank Him for the gift of family, friends, and the simple comforts of life.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Enjoying Enrichment Night

Last Tuesday I attended an Enrichment Night for my ward and had a wonderful time. We had all taken the Color Code test to find out our personality colors(stay tuned for another post with more details about this test.) We met together for a beautiful evening with a guest speaker and a delicious meal served by our own young women.

I’m in the Relief Society presidency and have been part of planning many Enrichment activities over the past two years. I’ve heard from many people who have enjoyed Enrichment. I’ve also heard from others who don’t attend because they feel Enrichment doesn’t have anything to offer them or they just don’t like it.
I would like to encourage all women of our LDS faith to attend their Enrichment activities with an attitude of “What can I offer others?” If in the past you have not attended Enrichment because you don’t enjoy it, I hope that you will change your perspective and go to Enrichment thinking about what you have to offer those you’ll associate with.

My ward’s Enrichment Night was a beautiful illustration of how different, yet wonderful we all are. There are many different colors of personality and no matter how different we might be we can find something to unite us together. Heavenly Father has created each of us to be unique, so we all have something special to offer those we associate with. It all depends on our attitude.

Our speaker talked about charity and the pure love of Christ. If we all have charity in our hearts then we can see the beauty of each individual and realize that even if we are different, we can still love one another.

My favorite part of the talk given was when the speaker told us about how she had a son who was a “Tigger” and she was more of a “Rabbit” or an “Eeyore.” At first it was hard to deal with “Tigger” bouncing around, always hyper and full of happy energy when “Rabbit” wanted to tell him to just quit bouncing and “Eeyore” wanted to be left alone. But then she realized how grateful she was to have Tigger in her home.
She reminded us of the Winnie the Pooh story where Tigger bounces so high, he gets stuck in a tree and Rabbit wants to leave him there. But then everyone feels sad without Tigger and Rabbit realizes he misses Tigger as well. So they let him down out of the tree on the condition that he can’t bounce. Poor Tigger just doesn’t feel like a Tigger without his bounciness and turns into an “Eeyore” for a while. Rabbit sees that he can’t make Tigger be something he’s not, it’s much better to let Tigger be his bouncy self. Rabbit decides to rescind the no-bouncing requirement and Tigger is overjoyed.

Winnie-the-Pooh is a children’s story full of wisdom for us all. We are not all cut out of the exact same mold. We have intricate details woven into our personalities, our spirits, which make us children of God with individual worth. If we embrace our individual worth no matter how different we all are, then we can truly come unto Christ.
I learned all of this from my Enrichment Night. During our progressive dinner, which took place in the gym, as we rotated from different color tables for each course of the meal I also saw the many different colors of the sisters in my ward and gained a small insight into their personality which I think will help me be a better friend to them.

Each Enrichment Night planned in our ward is done with prayerful consideration and many hours of work and devotion on behalf of those involved. By attending Enrichment Night with the right attitude we are actually enjoying a little piece of heaven—an opportunity to lift someone who is feeling down, to make a new friendship, to strengthen an old friendship, and come closer to Christ.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Clubs, Goodreads, and Rachelle’s Book Club

For my social networking focus today I’d like to talk about two similar, yet different arenas for socializing. Book clubs are a face to face grouping to discuss books. Goodreads is an internet book forum where you still talk about your favorite books—just not face to face, although you can post your picture by your name so people can feel like they’re talking face to face.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I think you’ve probably deduced by now that I love reading. I am a ravenous reader, devouring books as quickly as I can get my hands on any great books(and the time to read them)! Do you have a similar passion?

Forming a book club or a book group is a wonderful way to get to know people better. After all, what better way do you have to learn about someone’s inner thoughts and feelings than by how they respond to certain books? I think it’s so interesting what two people can take away from the same book. There are book clubs all over the world. Some are as small as a little neighborhood grouping, others as large as Oprah’s book club. No matter the size, you can find enjoyment, companionship, and new ideas from a book club.

Goodreads is an online book club which I recently joined and have already benefited from my membership. I have a group of friends whom I trust and I browsed the selections of books they have read and reviewed. As a result of Josi Kilpack’s review and seeing this book listed on other Goodreads pages, I am currently reading Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and thoroughly enjoying it. I’m laughing, pondering, and being educated on a variety of interesting things.
I like Goodreads because it’s an easy way to keep track of all the books I’ve read and when I read them. I can browse through hundreds of books recommended by friends instead of just picking on up at random at the library and getting surprised. I figure if 3 or more of my friends are all saying a book is good—then safe to say I’ll enjoy it too.
I encourage you to join Goodreads not because it gives me any perks (it doesn’t) but just because I think it’s set up so nicely and I think you’ll enjoy it. You can edit your own profile, add a picture, you can set your account to receive updates from your friends and see what they’re reading or if you’d rather not get the email you can just go to the website and peruse at your leisure.

I would also like to invite you to join Rachelle’s Book Club. This is pretty simple—just check out my sidebar and you’ll see titles of books I have read and reviewed on this blog. I read from pretty much every genre except horror and so you should see a pretty well-rounded amount of books to choose from. To join my club, all you need to do is comment on some of these reviews because I’d love to know what you think as well. I figure that makes you a member in my club.

Stay tuned for more reviews on methods of social networking as well as great books from Rachelle’s Book Club.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Excellent Book Review and Contest for Free Book by H.B. Moore

One of my favorite blogspots is holding a contest for a free book and I wanted to enter so you get to hear the good news too!
Not Entirely British is a great blog to stop by and visit. If you'd like to see specifics about the contest, click here.
H.B. Moore has written an intriguing new book about the Book of Mormon prophet, Abinadi, and I think you'll enjoy reading about it. Go check it out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You're Invited to Rachelle's Holiday Boutique


Tuesday November 18th*
7:00-8:30pm Enter to win FREE gifts
We're giving away over $250.00 worth of prizes!*
Great gifts for under $10, discounted merchandise* Bring a Friend/Get a gift!!
RSVP to superfelt@gmail.com or by posting a comment here to have your name entered into a drawing for a fabulous Keratonics hair care bag filled with over $200 of salon quality hair care products!
Also enter for our door prize of fantastic Story Time Felts products including a brand new holiday story!
We're going to have so much fun with 3 different vendors--there's something for everyone!
Are you too far away to make it? Keep reading to find out how you can participate.

STORY TIME FELTS
Come see our New story board sets
Special Savings basket-board sets $5 * Lots of gifts for under $20
Scripture stories
New holiday felt stories
Tons of Quiet Books
Contact Rachelle with questions or visit the website to view the full catalog www.storytimefelts.com

SCENTSY
Great scents without burning a
candle—no pollutants. Dozens of scents to choose from for only $5.00 * Come see the new small plug in
warmers!
Preview products at www.scentsy.com/jennv
We'll have the newest scents/products to try. Enter to win a FREE Gift!*

SHABBY CHIC BOUTIQUE
Flower clips for hair, headbands, hats, beanies for girls of all ages-bring your teens
Diaper bags/nursing covers/wipe cases
Preview these one of a kind gifts at www.shabbychicboutique.blogspot.com

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH 7:00PM-8:30PM
Rachelle Christensen's home
contact me for address-- superfelt@gmail.com
Tuesday November 18th
7:00-8:30pm
RSVP for an extra ticket in our drawing--you may do this by posting a comment on this blog post.
Bring a friend for 2 extra tickets in the drawing for each friend!

Can't make it? RSVP to enter the drawing and ask Rachelle how you can get 20% off your Story Time Felts order. Look online for Scentsy and Shabby Chic and let Rachelle know what you'd like. Have a happy holiday! You must place your order by November 18, 2008 to take advantage of special offers.

*Contests sponsored by Rachelle Christensen and not open to dispute. Free gifts will be given to winner of a ticket drawn out of a bowl of all entries and Rachelle must have their contact info in order for them to redeem their prize.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MySpace Part 2

As my part in the Social Networking block at www.yourldsneighborhood.com I signed up for MySpace to learn all about this popular nook of social networking.
So I decided MySpace is just not MyThing. It is very easy to use and start up your own account and you can click here to see my past post on how to do this.

I guess it depends how you plan on using MySpace. It can be another form of advertising and this seems to be what I found most represented.
During the short period when I had my profile public, people were contacting me about their MLM business, no-name music bands were contacting me to listen to their music, etc.
Based on my experiences, here are a few recommendations.

Don’t list your profile as public unless you can adjust your profile so there isn’t any personal information on there. Why, you ask? Okay, you asked right? Because within 24 hours of starting my own MySpace account I got over 30 invites to be friends with people whom I had no idea how they even found me. Even though my profile listed that I was married with children, I still had a few people making comments which made me feel uncomfortable. So I changed my profile and the random “friend” invites stopped. Of course, now my husband is going to tease me about a certain guy hitting on me through MySpace forever—so learn from my experience here!
Do not post photos for the public, make them private. This is a no-brainer here and in case you don’t agree click here for a post about blogging safely.

Before you set up a MySpace account, decide what purpose you will use that for.
I think it really should be a place for friends to network, but many, many people are using it for other reasons.
If you have lots of friends on MySpace and are interacting with them—I can see the usefulness. I still think the whole music side of MySpace along with a personal selection of songs you can attach to your account is pretty cool.
Based on my experience, I would keep a close eye on teens using MySpace. I’ve heard Facebook is safer and that is my next experiment in the study of social networking.
I’m still partial to blogger and probably always will be.
And I’m happily married to a tall, dark, and handsome man and he’s the only person I want to flirt with on the net or in person! Maybe if I had used this picture as my profile pic, I wouldn't have got so many "friendly" invites! Hee, hee!


Check out the awesome neighborhood at www.yourldneighborhood.com
Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog Safely


I love blogging, but I try to be smart about it. There is a purpose to my blog—several in fact. I am working on creating a strong web presence for my name because I am an author with my first book being published soon.
There are so many uses for blogging and what I want to talk about today is picking the right one for you.
Blogging can be fun, blogging can be a way of keeping an online journal, blogging can help you keep in contact with friends and family.
You can also use blogging to advertise, to instruct, to promote.
The way you set up your blog should adhere to the purpose of the blog.

If you are doing a blog mainly as a journal and as a way to share information with family/friends it is a good and wise idea to make your blog private. I use blogger and this is extremely easy to do—all you need to do is click a button and your blog becomes private and then you can send out invites to your family/friends. This is a great security option because only those people you invite can view your blog and comment.
So, you might be thinking—what does it really matter? Why would I want to make it private?

There has already been many cases of internet stalking. My local news just did a story on this and you can click here to read the article Blogging Safety

PICTURES—This is probably the main item we need to be careful about in blogging. I love the ability we have to share pictures with each other to stay up to date with family and friends, but what I don’t love is that other people, strange people, including pedophiles can view those photos if your blog is public.

The most important reason you would want to make your blog private is because you need to be especially careful about your children. If you have a blog open to the general public, then that means ANYONE can see your pictures and information!
I know that there is still someone reading this who thinks I’m just being paranoid. So for you, I have statcounter.com. This is a free tool with many different uses which you can attach to your website or blog and it keeps track of who comes to your website and what they're searching for. It will even go so far as to show you what keywords led that person to your blog. Even this is not all-encompassing to show what kind of person is behind the “visitor” so I would still advise being careful.
Don’t give out personal details about where you live. Don’t give out birthdates and personal info about your family members.

At a recent writer’s conference we were instructed on many ways to self-promote using internet marketing. We were warned that there are dangers if you put private information out on the web. A case brought to police attention was a man who had posted detailed info, pictures, addresses, ages, etc about his entire family and his family was subsequently stalked because of it.

I'm really not trying to scare off would-be bloggers because I love blogging. I just hope that people reading this will realize there is no need to be at risk if they use the private option or limit what they post on their blog or website.
If you are still a skeptic, think about your precious children. Do you want a pedophile looking at your children?
I’m sure that we are all at a certain level of risk because it’s pretty easy nowadays to get information. But if you don’t make yourself an easy target, I think you can feel more comfortable about surfing the web.

Let’s all enjoy social networking by blogging safely.
Here is an excellent article with tips on safety called Social networking and user interactive sites: Top tips for parents and carers


Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane


Today I'm giving a book review on a children's book. If you haven't read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo--today's the day to read it.
And because it is a children's book, it will only take you one day to read it--in fact just a few hours will be enough to read this story and linger on each page thinking about Edward's journey.

I love children’s books of this caliber—those that are wonderful for children to read, but adults can enjoy them just as well. The plot is simple, yet complex. There are tiny vignettes of humor or wit that a small child may not understand, but they can still grasp the story’s plot nonetheless.
Here’s a little excerpt from www.EdwardTulane.com

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline take us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

*This book is illustrated with beautiful, full-page color pictures with fine detail. As you read the story of this little china rabbit your heart will twinge with happiness and sadness, a happy tear, a sad tear might fall from your eyes—but you will keep reading. It is delightful because it covers all the emotions. I laughed out loud and then bit my lip to keep from crying.

Edward Tulane is a wonderful read-aloud story as well. The rhythmic language indicative of Kate DiCamillo fills these pages. She finds a way to weave a charming yet meaningful story. I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of her books and found them all different, with a distinct and meaningful story. I absolutely loved Because of Winn-Dixie and Edward Tulane ranks right up with that book.

I checked this book out at my local library but it is on my wish list of books to own. Please, go and read this story and then let me know what you think.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

LET’S GET POLITICAL

Okay, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming election and I’m excited to take part by voting. But then I got to thinking that maybe not everyone is as excited as me to vote.
So as a result of many nights of sleep deprivation with a newborn, I have reached a state of mind where funny things are happening.

Remember the popular song by Olivia Newton John, Let’s Get Physical?
Here’s the chorus, in case you can’t remember:
CHORUS
Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical, let's get into physical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, let me hear your body talk

You’re singing along aren’t you? It’s okay that’s good. Keep singing because I’ve added my own lyrics to the chorus to get you all jazzed up and ready to vote… Here you go, sing with me now.

Let’s get political, political, I wanna get political, let’s all get political
Let’s hear it for the USA, on election day, Let me see your ballot box

Let’s get political, political, I wanna get political, let’s all get political
Let’s hear it for the USA, on election day, Let me see your ballot box

Let’s all get out and vote on November 4, 2008!

It’s okay if you don’t sing, but please be sure to vote. Even if you have not already registered, you can still vote. All you need to do is register at the voting facility which may take a little extra time—but did you know that your employer is required by law to allow up to 2 hours off for you to get your vote in? So we really don’t have any excuse.
If you haven’t registered, please be sure to have your driver’s license with current address and if it isn’t current, bring a bill or something that has your address on it along with your driver’s license or other picture ID.

This is an extremely important election which I think will be a very close race. It is just a presidential election either, there are many state, city, and county offices throughout the USA up for election. Let’s all do our part by voting.

Let’s get POLITICAL!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why We Love to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween comes around every year and I hear lots of people who love it and lots who hate it. I think the people who hate it could be classified along with someone who says, “Bah Humbug!” maybe they say, “Bah pumpkins and candy!” instead.
I enjoy Halloween because I think it’s FUN! And that’s the key to enjoying Halloween: Have fun!
Are you one of those who is on the fence about Halloween? Let me share with you a few reasons why this holiday isn’t all about scaring and spooking.
When I think of Halloween, the first images that come to my mind are not goblins, witches, and spooks—rather I think of hayrides, frosted pumpkin cookies, and beautiful fall leaves. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s not a scary holiday, it’s a holiday full of fun family traditions and opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the season.

I love carving pumpkins and over the years we’ve become a little more sophisticated with our carving. Now you can easily pick up a pumpkin carving kit, complete with a mini-jigsaw and complex patterns to make the coolest looking pumpkins. You can also look up pumpkin carving patterns on the internet. There are all kinds of cartoon characters and other fun designs you can carve into your own jack-o-lantern.

One of our family traditions is to make delicious sugar cookies in delightful Halloween shapes like pumpkins, witches, cats, etc. I have always loved decorating a pumpkin-shaped cookie with candy corns for eyes and M&M’s for nose and mouth. My mom has a delectable sugar cookie recipe which makes a huge batch. In fact, growing up we often gave out sugar cookies to trick-or-treaters! Yummy! Now that’s a treat!

Here’s the recipe: Makes about 45 cookies
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup butter (one cube)
1 cup sour cream
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda dissolved in sour cream
1 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour

Cream sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream, vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out and cut cookies.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
* The best tip is to not allow the cookies to even get brown. Barely done makes a tender, soft, and delicious cookie!

Other Halloween activities that I enjoy include raking leaves and jumping into huge piles. I love the smell of leaves and the crunchy sound when they get caught in my hair. I especially enjoy watching my two little girls with their plastic rakes trying to make a big pile of leaves.
Before Halloween comes, we like to go for a quick drive up the canyon (lucky for us it’s nearby) and view the wonderful colors of leaves ranging from pinkish red to bright orange and dark brown.
I hope that you can make this Halloween special for your kids. You don’t have to concentrate on legends, scary spooks, and witches—instead concentrate on having FUN!

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What’s MySpace?

MySpace.com is the granddaddy of all the social networks—a place for friends.

I set up my new MySpace account last week with a little trepidation of what I was doing. I tend to be on the cautious side when it comes to social networking and since it seems everybody and their dog has a MySpace account, I wanted to do it right.
Well it’s not very user friendly, so I got my page set up and then was interrupted. I came back twenty minutes later to find that my profile said I was SINGLE and I had one new friend and message from that friend named TOM.
When I looked at his picture and saw that he seemed to be a guy about my age, I thought, “Oh crud! I’ve already messed up!” I’m not single—I’m happily married with 3 kids, thank you very much—so I wasn’t venturing into the social networking scene to make those kinds of new friends. But after a few frantic moments in which I figured out how to change my profile to MARRIED and how to check my message from TOM, everything was okay.
WHEW! Turns out TOM is some bigwig at MySpace.com who is everyone’s friend because as soon as you join he sends you a message about MySpace and then continues to send updates and info about the website.
It was kind of funny though. My husband laughed when I told him that I had set up a MySpace page, I was single and already had a male friend.
So I got the first bump figured out and I’m still working on the rest, but here’s some cool facts I found out about MySpace from my favorite friend, Wikipedia.com

MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California, USA,[1] where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; which is owned by News Corporation, which has its headquarters in New York City. In June 2006, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the United States.[2] According to comScore, MySpace has been overtaken by main competitor Facebook in April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors.[3] The company employs 300 staff[4] and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. The 100 millionth account was created on August 6, 2006[5] in the Netherlands[6] and the site counted approximately 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006,[7]. MySpace.com attracts 230,000 new users per day.[8]
There’s quite a bit more information about this social networking company if you’d like to learn more, click here.

So I now have a MySpace account and have been trying to learn the ins and outs of it for the past week. I wanted to learn more so I could share with you what I think about MySpace. I should probably preface this by saying that I love blogging and since that is what I have experience with, I’ll be comparing MySpace a little to blogging.
It’s very easy to join MySpace, in fact here’s an invite if you’d like to start your own MySpace page.

It seems like using MySpace is kind of another alternative to blogging, but a little more up close and personal with your friends. The layout is a little different than blogs though because the emphasis is more on WHO you are, rather than what you write. There’s lots of places for pictures of you, your friends, etc. Places for you to post videos, bulletins, even your own playlist of music you enjoy which you can share with others.
I’ve noticed there are tons of music connections and different celebrities who use MySpace as well. MySpace has even sponsored “virtual record deals” for some of their music accounts.
I have to say that I’m excited about MySpace for one good reason. I found one of my friends again and got to see updates on her family. We’ve been friends since first grade but I haven’t seen her for about 10 years.
I found Blogger to be much more user friendly as far as setting up my own page. I’m still trying to figure some things out with MySpace and I can’t even find a help section there.
As I learn more about MySpace, I will be posting a part 2 with a little more information about this form of social networking.
In the meantime, here’s a few quick tips for setting up your page.
Although MySpace says that you must be 13 to have a page and cannot pretend to be under 18 if you're older--I can't see anyway that they have of actually enforcing this rule--so Be Careful! It's a network for friends, so use it that way.

You can choose to keep your profile private and if you don’t want to share any information about yourself, you can build your MySpace page to your own comfort level.
You can upload photos, add friends, and listen to music.
You can personalize your page background
If someone requests you as a friend, you don’t have to accept. First go to their MySpace page to see who they are, their profile, who their friends are, etc. to help you make the decision.
Bottom line, I prefer blogger.
I also want to remind you that yourLDSneighborhood has a safe friendly social networking group you can join for free and I would feel more comfortable about joining there because there’s a little more control to the content. It's called Neighborhood and Friends Click here to see what it's all about.
If you want to check out the MySpace page for yourLDSneighborhood, click here

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Month Old


Our sweet baby boy is already one month old!
It's amazing how fast these little ones grow. I could tell Dawson had grown longer when I gave him a bath the other day in his little bath tub. I think he's going to be pretty tall. He is a big eater and is doing really well. We're still working on trying to get more sleep at night.


Gracie and Maggie just adore him and want to hold him all the time. When Dawson cries, Maggie follows me around saying, "Can I hold him for just one minute? Please."
Gracie loves to hold him and she actually does a pretty good job. She's started picking him up by herself which is scary and I'm going to have to find a place he can rest where no one can reach him. :)
The girls also love to sing to him and soothe him when he's crying. They're good little helpers.

I just love cuddling with him because I know that he won't be this small for very long. He's starting to make eye contact and smile now and it's so neat to see his little personality just starting to emerge.












Steve is thrilled to have a "Packer buddy" and has already started talking to Dawson about football. There's no shortage of love for this little guy. We're all excited he's here and excited to watch him grow and be a part of his life.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails